Yes, We Can (Be Healthy): Obama’s Health Care Agenda

Lindsay E. Beyerstein

The Obama victory is a mandate for science and rationality across the board, especially in health care policy. Though the economic crisis has become an excuse to ignore health care, nothing could be more shortsighted.

Before
a cheering crowd in Chicago, Barack
Obama
thanked his
supporters, his campaign staffers, his running mate, and his family
for his historic victory.

I
hope he also sends a nice note to Sarah Palin. He couldn’t have done
it without her.

Palin
was chosen for her impeccable culture war credentials in the hopes of
galvanizing the Republican base. Ironically, Palin energized the
conservative base and the progressive base, in equal but opposite
measure.

Palin’s
candidacy, as the running mate of a 72-year-old cancer survivor,
forced us to imagine a young earth creationist, anti-abortion zealot
in the White House. To their great credit, Americans said, "Thanks
but no thanks."

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The
Obama victory can be seen as a mandate
for science and rationality across the board, especially in health
care policy. The economic crisis has become an
excuse
to ignore
health care, but nothing could be more shortsighted. 

Election
night also saw anti-choice
ballot initiatives

defeated in Colorado, California, and South Dakota.

RH
Reality Check
recaps
the ballot battles:

Colorado voters overwhelmingly
rejected a
ballot
initiative that would have given human rights to fertilized eggs,
South
Dakota’s
notorious
Measure 11 was defeated, and the latest California parental
notification bill stalled out.

Had
it passed, Measure 11 would have been the most sweeping abortion ban
in the post-Roe era. Measure 11 was billed as a kinder, gentler,
saner version of the old South Dakota abortion ban, but the
anti-choicers weren’t fooling anyone. The bill’s so-called health
exemption only applied to women facing organ failure

William
Smith
hopes that
the Obama administration will put an end to the boondoggle of
abstinence only indoctrination. Obama pledged to take a scalpel to
the budget and excise programs that don’t work. Abstinence only
education should be the first to go. It doesn’t work. It devalues
gays and women while misleads about science. And to top it all off,
it’s a $200 million/year wingnut welfare program. It’s time to cut it
out.

So,
does an Obama victory mean the end of the culture wars? Not likely.
Although, according to Mike
Madden,
the mood at
New Life Church, ground zero of American fundamentalism, was
uncharacteristically subdued in the week before the election.

Yet,
the
religious right
is
nothing if not resilient. After getting trounced 3 to 1 in Colorado,
champions of egg personhood reacted by forming a nationwide
organization, Personhood USA, to fight for ovo-Americans nationwide.

Lest
our own victories make us complacent, we should remember that gay
rights are under siege nationwide. Voters in California, Arizona,
Florida, and Arkansas approved ballot measures restricting the rights
of gay couples to marry. In Mother Jones, Richard
Kim
discusses
California’s notorious Proposition 8, which revokes same sex marriage
in California.

The
pundits are already wagging their fingers at San Francisco Mayor
Gavin Newsom and gay rights activists for overplaying their hand and
demanding too much, too fast.

They’re
thinking small. The culture warriors have never been afraid to seize
the initiative or press their advantage.

Maybe
progressives should take a page from the right wing playbook. The
Defense of Equal Marriage Act has a nice ring to it. How about
it, President Obama?

This
post is a project of
The
Media Consortium
,
a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, including Rewire
.

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